LA VERNE, Calif. – As the final seconds winded down with the score tied near the end of the first of two, three-minute overtime periods, sophomore attacker Peter Tilton (CMC) fired a shot from near mid-pool just before time expired. Tilton's shot somehow found its way into the top right-hand corner of the net, just over the outstretched hand of Whittier goalie Oliver Bineth. His goal ended up being the game-winner, as the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps men's water polo team came back to defeat Whittier 12-11 in the finals of the SCIAC Championships on Nov. 22 at Las Flores Pool.
The win gave CMS the program's 26th conference championship (its first since 2012) and the SCIAC's automatic bid into the National Collegiate Men's Water Polo Championship. It is the first undefeated conference season for the Stags since 1997.
Next up for CMS is a match at USC on Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m. in the NCAA Collegiate Men's Water Polo Championship play-in game. More information will be available later in the week. CMS is now one of six teams left standing nationally.
In the SCIAC finals on Sunday, CMS (21-7) faced a familiar foe in Whittier. CMS defeated Whittier in two previous matches in 2015, but Whittier had won the last two SCIAC Championships against CMS.
Late in the fourth quarter, CMS faced a two-goal deficit (the largest deficit for either team in the match). Junior attacker Alex Waggoner (CMC) brought CMS within a goal at 9-8 with 3:43 remaining in regulation. Then with 1:09 left in the fourth quarter, junior utility Ellison Taylor (CMC) knotted the match up at 9-9. CMS jumped ahead briefly, 10-9, on another goal from Waggoner with 23 seconds on the clock in the fourth quarter. Twelve seconds later, Marino Fatovic tied the game to force overtime.
Senior attacker Tanner Cullen (CMC) scored the first goal of overtime, 44 seconds in. Whittier once again tied the match, this time at 11-11, which set up Tilton's winning goal.
CMS led first in the match, 1-0 in the first quarter, on Taylor's first goal of the day. He finished with a team-high four scores. In a first half that saw five ties and three lead changes, CMS and Whittier went into the half all even at five.
Senior attacker Daniel Cogan (CMC) added three scores for CMS while Waggoner had two three others had one. Junior goalie Rye Newman (CMC) finished with 10 saves for the Stags. Fatovic and Massimilliano Mirachi each scored three goals to lead Whittier.
By Chris Watts
Director of Athletics Communication
Claremont McKenna College
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